created by Glenn Tamashiro

Hello and welcome. This site was developed to keep you informed about the various lessons and activities that are held in our Government/Economics and Honors Government/AP Macroeconomics classes.

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APMacro: Practice FRQ


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The unemployment rate in the country of Southland is greater than the natural rate of unemployment. Using a correctly labeled graph of aggregate demand and aggregate supply, show the current equilibrium real gross domestic product and price level in Southland. The president of Southland is receiving advice from two economic advisers about how best to reduce unemployment in Southland. Kohelis advises the president to decrease personal income taxes. What is the effect of the change in tax policy? Raymond advises the president to take no policy action. What would eventually happen to the price level and output.

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Gov: Interest Groups


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Americans join all kinds of groups that reflect their interests. When such groups seek to influence government, at any level, they are called special-interest groups or special interests. The term special interest refers to a particular goal or set of goals that unites the members of a group.

There are thousands of interest groups in the United   States. Although they differ in many respects, their basic goal is the same: they all try to persuade elected officials to take actions to support their interests. Special-interest groups fall into several categories, depending on their membership and goals. Americans join interest groups for various reasons. Some join for the information and benefits the groups offer. Many interest groups publish newsletters and host workshops and conferences for members. Some offer training that helps members qualify for higher-paying jobs.

All interest groups need both money and people, but they are organized and financed in many ways. Most interest groups have an elected board of directors or trustees who set policy and decide how the group’s resources will be used. Many groups have both national and state chapters, each led by their own boards or trustees. Funding methods vary among interest groups. Many economic and single-issue groups get most of their operating expenses from dues, membership fees, and direct mail fundraising campaigns. Some public interest groups get their primary funding from foundations or government grants.

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APMacro: FRQ


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The FRQs do not require an essay such as you might write in APUSH or AP Lit. Think of them as being more like problems. For example, you do not need a general introduction to the topic any more than you would if you were solving a math problem. Many will require you to draw graphs, then amend the graphs to show changes. Some FRQs will show a graph and the sub questions will require you to analyze the graph and discuss the concepts involved.

There is a bit of a risk in the FRQs because there are only three questions. If you get a question on a topic that you find difficult, things may look grim for that problem. However, quite often, you will earn some points on every question because there will be some sub question with which you are familiar. Remember the goal is not perfection. If you ace the longer question and slug your way to partial credit on the shorter ones, or vice versa, you will put yourself in position to get a good score on the entire test. The total test score is the big picture; don’t lose sight of it just because you don’t know the answer to one sub question on the FRQ.

FRQs can come in any shape or size, but here are some important points to remember:

  1. Most questions contain smaller questions.
    You’ll get an initial setup followed by sub questions labeled (a), (b), (c), and so on. It’s best to label clearly the part you are answering and to use each page of your test booklet completely before moving to the next. Putting each part on a single page is not a good idea.
  2. Be consistent with your approach.
    Above all, emphasize the line of reasoning that led to your answer. If you make a statement like the price increased, be sure to explain why the price increased and carry the effects of that price change through the rest of your answer. The last part is especially important. The readers will award points for consistency in logic and analysis even if you misread the question. Stick with your line of reasoning and you will score points.
  3. Writing smart things earn you points.
    A smart answer is not witty; it is a concise, informed, and intelligent response that demonstrates your mastery of economics.  For each sub question on a FRQ, you receive points for writing a correct response to the prompt. The more points you score the better off you are on that question. In general, the FRQ readers use a rubric that acts as a blueprint for a good answer. Every sub section of a question has two to five key ideas attached to it. If you write about one of those ideas, you earn a point.

FRQs frequently include key words or phrases that are clues pointing you toward the shape and content of a good answer. SOme of the key words and phrases:

  • Identify prompts an assertion on the data or other information. Make sure to support your assertions with evidence.
  • List prompts a bulleted list of items.
  • Define prompts you to write out the definition of a term.
  • Draw a correctly labeled graph prompts you to draw the proper graph, using correct labels and correct curves. Changes in graphs should be clearly noted with notations like D to D1 or directional arrows. Show is a key word meaning that new equilibriums should be clearly noted and labeled on the graph.
  • Explain always means that an assertion will not be enough. You are required to offer a clear account of the reasoning behind your assertions. 

When constructing your answer to the FRQs, don’t rush or leave your thoughts incomplete. The readers will not fill in the ideas or connections that you omit. Do your best to write complete sentences and always strive to express your ideas clearly.

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Gov: Current Event Public Opinion Poll


 

President Trump’s approval rating sank to a new low of 37% according to the latest Gallup poll. While 37% of Americans approve of the job the President has done since taking office Jan. 20, 58% disapprove. Poll numbers showed his approval rating stood at 45% last week. The daily poll results are based on telephone interviews with 1,500 people nationwide and has a 3% margin of error.

The drop comes as Republicans pitch the GOP healthcare plan, seeking to rally members behind their proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare. It also comes after a federal judge in Hawaii last week issued a temporary restraining order against the president’s revised travel ban. Trump has also been getting backlash from Democrats and Republicans on his unsubstantiated claims that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

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APMacro: Fiscal Policy


When significant changes in aggregate demand plunge our economy into recession or drive it into runaway inflation, fiscal policy allows policymakers to use changes in taxes and government spending to correct economic instability.
Expansionary Fiscal Policy
During a recession, aggregate demand falls, creating a recessionary gap which reduces output and employment. The government can use expansionary fiscal policy, reducing taxes, increasing government spending, or both to stimulate aggregate demand and restore the economy to full employment output. Expansionary fiscal policy creates a budget deficit, as the government spends more than its revenue in a year, and such deficits add to the national debt.
Contractionary Fiscal Policy
The government uses contractionary fiscal policy to combat inflation, raising taxes, reducing government spending, or both. Because of the ratchet effect, prices that rise tend not to fall to their previous levels, so the focus is on halting the rise of inflation and reducing aggregate demand to reduce further pressure on prices. The rise in tax revenue and fall in government spending would reduce the deficit or even cause a budget surplus, which would reduce the national debt.

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Gov: Political Parties


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A political party is an ongoing coalition of interests joined together in an effort to get its candidates for public office elected under  common label. Political parties are an indispensable component of democratic government. By offering voters a choice between policies and leaders, parties give them a chance to influence the direction of government. When the United States was founded, the formation of parties was also the first step toward the building of its democracy.

Political parties serve to link the public with its elected leaders. In the United States, this linkage is provided by the two-party system. Only the Republican and Democratic parties have any chance of winning control of government. The fact that the United States has only two major parties is explained by several factors: an electoral system characterized by single-member districts that makes it difficult for third parties to compete for power; each party’s willingness to accept differing political views; and a political culture that stresses compromise and negotiation rather than ideological rigidity.

When the Constitution was written, no political parties existed in the United States. Before long, however, the nation’s leaders had begun to divide into factions, or groups with differing views. These factions soon gave rise to the nation’s first political parties. By the early 1800s, a political system based on two major parties was beginning to emerge.

Over the years, the two parties have evolved and changed, and so have their bases of support. For example, the Democrats were once the strongest party in the South. Today the Republicans generally enjoy more support among southern voters.

While all kinds of Americans support either party, a Republican is more likely to be white, male, and relatively affluent. A Democrat is more likely to be a member of a minority group, female, and less affluent. In general, Republicans hold more conservative views, and Democrats more liberal views, on the issues that follow.

In general, Democrats support a strong federal government and look to it to solve a wide variety of problems. Most Republicans favor limiting the size of the national government and giving more power to the states to solve problems at a local level.

Republicans favor broad-based tax cuts to encourage economic growth and to allow people to keep what they earn. Although Democrats favor tax cuts for the poor, they are more willing to raise taxes for affluent Americans in order to support programs that they see as beneficial to society.

Democrats generally support government regulation of business as a way to protect consumers, workers, or the environment. Most Republicans oppose what they see as excessive business regulation by the government.

Republicans tend to favor prayer in public schools, while opposing abortion and gun control laws. Democrats are more likely to support abortion rights and gun control laws, while opposing school prayer.

Most Democrats favor regular increases in the minimum wage to support poor families. Republicans tend to oppose minimum wage laws as unnecessary economic regulation.

While these generalities hold for the two political parties, individual Democrats or Republicans may not share the same views on every issue. Nevertheless, for most Americans, identifying with one party or the other provides a useful way to make sense of the candidates at election time. In effect, party labels tell voters what the candidates stand for and help them make choices when they vote.

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APMacro: AD AS Graphing


When aggregate demand (AD) or aggregate supply (AS) shifts, changes will occur in the price level and the real GDP.

AD-AS Recession

If an economy had been at full employment real GDP, a decrease in AD, which means higher unemployment reduces spending, which would move the AD curve to the left. Price levels falls and real GDP declines. This is a recessionary gap.

AD-AS Cost Push Inflation

If an economy had been at full employment real GDP,  negative supply shock would move the aggregate supply curve to the left. Price level would rise and real GDP decline. This is a recessionary gap as well.

AD-AS Demand Pull Inflation

If an economy had been at full employment real GDP, an increase in aggregate demand, which means lower unemployment boosts spending, which would move the AD curve to the right. Price level increases and real GDP increases. This is an inflationary gap.

AD-AS LRAS Inflation

If an economy had been at full employment real GDP, a positive supply shock would move the short run aggregate supply curve to the right. Price level would fall and real GDP increase. This is an inflationary gap as well.

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